Scammers have been registering coronavirus-related domain website names daily in order to commit fraud, according to new reports.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, cybercriminals have been registering malicious sites with names that include “coronavirus” and “COVID-19”. They also are using combinations of the pandemic names and the word “vaccine”.
Reports are showing malicious sites are now being created daily with thousands online with the goal of hosting phishing attacks, infecting devices with malware or offering fraudulent coronavirus cures or vaccines.
There have been more than 48,000 domain names registered this year using the words “coronavirus” or “COVID-19”, however some of these new sites are legitimate sites. But many are malicious. An example of one malicious site is “vaccinecovid-19\.com”, which was registered in Russia in February. The fraudulent site offers a $300 vaccine for COVID-19.
The Federal Trade Commission has reported more than 18,000 complaints and more than $9 million in losses to coronavirus-related scams since the beginning of the year.
Officials said the huge increase in coronavirus-related registered domain names shows the length cybercriminals are going to make money off the pandemic. With scammers going to unprecedented lengths to steal information and money during these times, it is important to be especially vigilant and protect yourself from hackers and identity thieves.